Should Christians work hard? Our Jesus did. He worked so hard that sometimes He even forgot that it was mealtime. The apostle Paul also worked hard. In fact, he says that he worked harder than anyone else (1 Cor 15:10). With Jesus and Paul as our models for Christian living, we now have the encouragement – yes, even the permission – to work hard.
But, before you run off and work 15 hours a day and 7 days a week, take note of this qualifier. In Acts 20, Paul reminds the disciples how he worked with his hands to meet his own needs as well as those who co-labored with him. He then tells the disciples that they should follow his example and work to “help the weak” (both spiritually and materially), remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
There is a difference between working hard and toiling. Toil was what Adam did after he was expelled from the Garden. He had to toil because now he had to provide for himself and his family. Because of his sin, they were cut off from God’s provision in the Garden. And as God had said, Adam ate bread by the sweat of his brow.
Toil has only self in mind. It does not think of others for it cannot. The needs of self are already overwhelming. Working hard, on the other hand, like what Jesus and Paul did, is not for the benefit of self but others. Yes, Paul worked so that he may provide for himself. But he did it more so that those he ministered to would not be burdened with supporting him financially and materially.
So, as you work hard, do pause, once in a while, to check if you are simply working hard or actually toiling.